Mark Levin’s Landmark Legal Foundation has filed an opposition to the EPA’s motion for summary judgement in the “Greenhouse Gases” case in U.S. Supreme Court. Looks like the EPA has been much less than forthcoming when dealing with Freedom of Information Act requests and is hiding something.
Landmark writes at its site that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is attempting to “shut down the leading challenge to its claim that it has the statutory power to regulate carbon dioxide and other ‘greenhouse gases’ from millions of sources around the country“.
In response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Landmark, former administrator Lisa P. Jackson, current administrator Bob Perciasepe, and Jackson’s chief of staff’s records “all appear to have been excluded from the search for responsive records. The LLF Their exclusion appears to be the result of EPA’s apparent bad faith implementation of an agreement to narrow the scope of search to EPA’s senior officials in the Washington, D.C. headquarters.”
The FOIA request sought records that would “reveal whether or not EPA’s political officials were participating in the improper manipulation of the Agency’s regulatory agenda” with the aim of helping President Barack Obama in the 2012 general election.
In the court filing, the plaintiff Landmark claims the EPA “has engaged in a breathless pattern of obfuscation and apparent deception in its response to Landmark’s FOIA.” So much for the most transparent administration ever.
The EPA refused releasing records, citing “privacy exemption” rights, which the LLF calls “not legally justified”.
An agency must justify withholding responsive records, and bears the burden of defending its withholding of records responsive to a FOIA request. Landmark writes that the EPA failed to perform an adequate search and failed to properly justify withholdings in response to Landmark’s FOIA request, saying that it “unreasonably and improperly limited the search”.
Landmark calls the Agency’s declaration “vague, conclusory, and does not describe a search sufficient for summary judgment”.
The conclusion of Landmark’s filing reads:
The record in this case leaves substantial doubt as to the sufficiency of the search and the good faith conduct of EPA officials in the processing of Landmark’s FOIA request at issue in this cause of action. Accordingly, EPA is not entitled to summary judgment. The Court should deny the motion and instead should order EPA to submit to discovery in order to afford Landmark the opportunity to determine the circumstances surrounding EPA’s improper limitation of the scope of its search for responsive records — including whether EPA employees have acted in bad faith; and to determine the actual scope of EPA’s search for responsive records. Finally, the Court should award Landmark its attorneys fees and costs incurred to conduct such discovery.”
With the formidable Landmark Legal Foundation taking the EPA to get public information, and attorney Chris Horner doing the same, the EPA is coming under massive pressure to honor the pledge of transparency that the President promised earlier. Eventually it’s all going to come out.